LIMERICK-based refugee and migrant rights organisation Doras has expressed concern over increasing levels of what it describes as “unhelpful and misleading rhetoric about refugees” from public representatives.
And its chief executive John Lannon has called on all party leaders to ensure their members avoid “populist rhetoric that unfairly demonises and scapegoats refugees, asylum seekers and migrants”.
“Communities the length and breadth of Ireland have been extremely welcoming of people from Ukraine. As the war continues, we need to ensure that Ukrainians feel safe and welcome in the communities they are living in. The same goes for people from other parts of the world who seek asylum here,” he explained.
“Ireland has an obligation to consider and process all asylum applications, and to provide a basic standard of accommodation, food, clothing and healthcare.
“It is vital that the suffering of refugees and migrants isn’t added to by being victimised and wrongfully scapegoated for failures in the political system, both nationally and internationally,” Mr Lannon said.
“Particular attention needs to be paid to vulnerable persons who arrive in Ireland seeking protection, especially unaccompanied minors and victims of torture. People who have been traumatised should not be further traumatised by having to live in unsuitable or unsafe conditions such as tented accommodation and cramped and isolated Direct Provision centres.
“Ireland has welcomed close to 60,000 people from Ukraine. While the State has struggled to find accommodation for them, Doras welcomes the government’s stated intention on Friday to move from an emergency response to a more mainstreamed approach.
“We also welcome the programme of support for local communities that was announced. However political parties must play their part in ensuring this is not undermined by ill-advised statements from its members.
Equally the government must do more to provide sustainable longer-term accommodation, not just for Ukrainians and asylum seekers but for everyone in the country. It is vitally important that requests for alternative accommodation are considered and acted upon when there are compelling reasons to do so,” Mr Lannon concluded.